I recently got an email from someone who had understandably enjoyed a holiday meal with her family over the weekend. She had enjoyed herself but was worried that she had “cheated” on her Medifast diet and was going to ruin all of her hard loss and weight loss for the week. She wanted to know what was the best course of action to take following this. I will tell you what I told her in the following article.
First of all, every one cheats. It’s very unrealistic to think that you’re going to be able to bypass every holiday and special occasion and not partake in normal things every now and again. Sometimes, you can use a “lean and green meal” on these occasions. Many restaurants can certainly accommodate this. But, there are going to be other times when you just aren’t able to or even don’t want to stick to the plan (at least temporarily.)
This is totally normal and there’s no reason to get completely upset or derailed by this. One of the possibilities that can happen is that you will get out of ketosis and will need to get back in. (This should only take a few days or about the amount of time that it took you to get to this point when you started the diet.)
Or, you might find that at the end of the week, you didn’t lose as much as the week before. None of these things needs to be the end of the world. And, there’s no reason to get upset or to even change your routine. The best thing to do is to just resume your regular regimen as soon as you can. The real danger is not in the cheating, it’s in the cheating ultimately causing you to quit the diet. So many people become mad at themselves, get frustrated, and give up. This is the worst thing that you can do. Cheating is not.
Because honestly, it’s the cumulative effects over the long term that usually make all of the difference. Think about it this way, if your goal is a 50 pound weight loss, realistically, you can break this down into three pounds per week over about 16 weeks or a little over 4 months.
Now within that 4 months, you may have days or even weeks that don’t go as well as others. But, I usually find that you’ll also have days and weeks that go better than expected so that the average usually returns to what you have been seeing all along. This has been my experience. So, it’s also my opinion and experience is that if you promptly resume your normal routine, you should get back into ketosis in a day or two and resume your regular pattern in roughly the same amount of time. It doesn’t need to be a big deal. And over the course of the 4 months in that example, most people are going to cheat a few times without any huge consequences, so long as they don’t make this a habit.
People often ask me if they should try to “make up” for the cheating by taking in less calories the next day. I don’t think that this is the best idea. Just going back to the five Medifast meals and one lean and green meal should be just fine, in my view. You shouldn’t cut your calories too much. Your body needs fuel and some calories to get and stay in ketosis.
It’s so important not to beat yourself up too much. You want for your experience on Medifast to be positive and to be one that you don’t mind sticking with. But if you get mad at yourself or panic over every little thing, you undermine your abilities. I’ve learned that there’s no need to over think it or become angry or panicked if I have a bad day. I just dust myself off, shrug my shoulders, and move on. And you know what? In the grand scheme of things, it hasn’t made all that much of a difference. My results are still very good and I’m not miserable worrying about a few off days.